The Early Years
The stereo console history has been written over the last 70 years! Stereo consoles, pieces of furniture that have a turntable, amplifier and speakers inside, began appearing in the mid-1950s. These devices were very popular because they had a double function as a piece of decorative furniture and a multimedia entertainment system.
Most baby boomers remember their parents or grandparents owning one of these magnificent devices. These were often the centerpiece of the living space from the 1950s to the 1970s. The styles changed throughout this time, matching the then-current style of mid-century modern to space age to the tv age.
Falling Out Of Favor
Stereo consoles fell out of favor as tvs became larger and larger and the main source of familial entertainment. Stereo consoles from the 1950s to the late 1960s also broke down quite frequently due to the vacuum tubes that powered the deep, rich sounds.
By the mid-1970s, transistors has largely relegated the tube amp to the specialists, but also componentized the stereo console into individual pieces that you could mix and match. The stereo console was effectively dead.
Stereo Console History Continues
In the mid-2000s, after all music was digitized and delivered on CD, through iTunes or streamed to you, the game Rock Band brought the out-of-fashion arena rock genre to a new generation of kids. These kids started seeking out the fading record store concept and the tactile feeling of the needle and groove sound for the curiosity factor.
As this mini-revival of vinyl was gaining notice, a group of record store owners decided to organize a celebration of the independent record stores that had survived through a 20 year downturn. The birth of Record Store Day happened on April 19, 2008 and a new became interested in that old, dusty stereo console in their grandparents house.
Modern Day Stereo Console
Today, as people invest more in the sound quality and livability in their home the stereo console has been on a massive bounceback. Those original consoles have hobbyists flocking to restore them to their original glory, have innovators replacing the tube electronics with modern equipment for a Frankenstein appearance and have entrepreneurs building modern stereo consoles to suit our multimedia and home design interests. It’s really a golden age where there is so much interest in all variations of the stereo console!
How to Pick a Stereo Console
While the stereo console history may be bumpy, we have written a handy guide for you on your decision of how to select the right stereo console for you.